Power Electronics

OEM views diverge on safety

Automakers have selected safety as the focal point of their efforts to differentiate themselves, according to ABI Research, which has published five reports on the topic. The reports include “Vehicle Safety Systems,” “Automotive Radar/Lidar Systems,” “Driver Monitoring Systems,” “Automotive-Based Pedestrian Safety Systems,” and “Automotive Electronics Systems.”

"There are a host of cutting-edge safety systems in varying stages of development that will alter the consumer's perception of what makes for a safe vehicle," noted ABI Research senior automotive analyst, Robert LaGuerra. "What is interesting is that automakers disagree about how they define a safe vehicle," he said, and they re tackling the issue from different perspectives.

LaGuerra said electronic stability control (ESC), adaptive cruise control, telematics systems, blind-spot detection, lane-departure warning, driver monitoring, and pedestrian-based safety systems will all be used in some combination.

While Honda and Mercedes are introducing systems that promote pedestrian safety, GM is among the first automakers to introduce ESC and reactionary safety systems such as OnStar as standard equipment across all its North American models.

Issues remaining to be overcome, according to LaGuerra, include high systems costs, communication among on-board safety systems, software and processor limitations in assessing emergency systems in real time, and decisions about how much control a driver should retain in an emergency, plus software and processor limitations in assessing an emergency situation on a real-time basis. Further systems integration will enhance the level of safety and help reduce overall system costs, according to LaGuerra.

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